Google Maps for Android has offered a vector 3D option for some time, presenting a fully adjustable, 360 degree view of the world. Now Google has announced that it’s bringing this to the browser, too in addition to other visual enhancements.

If you have Chrome 14 or above, or the latest beta version of Firefox, and a graphics card that supports WebGL, you’ll be now be able to try Google Maps GL. As the video below demonstrates, it offers a hardware-accelerated, 3D version of Google Maps without the need for a plugin.

Benefits of this include faster access to Street View and 45-degree satellite views of certain locations, with smooth rotations.

Google has previously used WebGL in Chrome Experiments like 3 Dreams of Black and All is Not Lost, but this is the first time it’s been used in a core Google product.